Congratulations to the three Raider Basketball student athletes who were selected to the All Region Teams for Region 3 in 7A. Recognized for their stellar athleticism at the varsity level are Luke Flynn, 1st Team, Harrison Morris, 2nd Team and Lexy Harris, 2nd Team. Congratulations — well deserved! Way to #RepTheW!
The Walton coaching staff, Tip-off Club, players, and families enjoyed celebrating the many talented players in the Walton Basketball program. While the setting was different this year, the sentiment was no less! Thank you to The Springs Cinema & Taphouse in Sandy Springs for their special sponsorship and hosting us for the evening…food and beverage were delish and we loved seeing the basketball program on the big screen!
Several individuals were recognized for their exemplary work ethic both on and off the court. The Scholar Athlete Award can be earned only by Juniors or Seniors with a cumulative g.p.a. of 3.75 or greater. These players blew by that requirement! Also worth noting are the team g.p.a. averages: 3.98 for the Varsity Girls and 3.76 for the Varsity Boys…truly accomplished on the court and in the classroom!
Farewell to our 2021 Seniors–Tomisin Adenupe, Carson Adler, Luka Avaliani, Jacki Hecklinski, Landon Hong, Sarah Lang, Dylan Pumpian, Colleen Short, Tripp Smith, and Emma White. Several of these Senior athletes have played in the Walton Basketball Program for a total of EIGHT years…beginning in the 5th grade! They grew into awesome young men and women right in front of our eyes. The 2021 senior class has set quite the example for our younger players…thank you for your stellar leadership! We wish you nothing but success and happiness as you embark on your next journey. Remember to Rep The W and always come back for a visit!
The Player Awards are determined by the players…these recipients truly impress their teammates. The coaches verify those and of course select their Coaches Awards, which is a huge honor. Way to be a standout this season! Congratulations to our 2021 award recipients!
- Varsity Boys: Defensive MVP-Landon Hong, Co-Offensive MVPs-Luka Avaliani/Dylan Pumpian, MVP-Dylan Pumpian, Coaches Award-Carson Adler, Raider Pride-Tripp Smith
- Varsity Girls: MVP and Offensive MVP-Tomisin Adenupe, Defensive MVP-Sarah Lang, Rebounding MVP-Lexy Harris, Coaches Award-Colleen Short & Cici Childers
- JV Boys: Defensive MVP-Jason Varghese, Co-Offensive MVPs-Nathan Watson/Dylan Bhatia, MVP-Harry Tear, Coaches Award-Edgar Laurent
- JV Girls: MVP-Casey Ehlen, Offensive MVP-Molly Chapman, Defensive MVP-Ava McMasters, Rebounding MVP-Adair Talley, Coaches Award-Kailey Timson
- Freshman Boys: Defensive MVP-Zachary Plange, Offensive MVP-Josh Palmer, MVP-JP Wells, Coaches Award-John Wagner
Thanks and gratitude to the following Tip-Off Club Board members and Committee Chairpersons for their time and energy over the past three to four years. Sponsorship–Holly Smith, Communications–Amy Hecklinski, Concession–Melissa Pumpian. A very special thank you to President–Soogi Hong for her dedication and endless support of the Walton Basketball Program. Her efforts paved the road for the future!
And last, but certainly not least, congratulations to our very own Varsity Boys Head Coach, Bo Abney, 7A – Region 3 Coach of the Year. Senior Tripp Smith presented Coach Abney with a plaque for his office and Bo replied simply, “getting that award doesn’t mean I’m a great coach, it means I have great players.”
Congratulations to five Raider Basketball student athletes who were selected to the All Region Teams for Region 3 in 7A. Recognized for their stellar athleticism at the varsity level are three seniors, a sophomore and a freshman. Also, a special shout out to our Region 3, 7A Basketball Coach of the Year, Bo Abney. Congratulations to Bo and our student athletes for these well deserved honors! Way to #RepTheW!
Congratulations to Senior, Luka Avaliani on his accomplishment of scoring his 1,000th point as a Walton High School Raider. Way to go Luka!
John Bednarowski, MDJ
Walton used its trademark patience, stingy defense and a deft touch from the free throw line to beat Marietta 45-40 Saturday to win its first region championship since the 1988-89 season.
The Raiders (19-5, 7-3) will be the No. 1 seed from Region 3AAAAAAA, and open the Class AAAAAAA playoffs at home against Newnan when the state tournament gets underway Feb. 23 and 24.
“Our motto is when given an opportunity dot be afraid to take it,” coach Bo Abney said. “But sometimes we have to do things the hard way.”
That was the case against the Blue Devils (10-11, 6-3). Walton held a 35-31 lead at the end of the third quarter. Marietta’s Camden Overton made a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, and then another point wasn’t scored until Izaiyah Nelson converted on 1 of 2 free throws with 52 seconds to play. They were the only points scored in the final 8 minutes and the game went to overtime tied at 35.
For the Raiders, despite being in a nearly 10 minute scoring drought, they had the Blue Devils right where they wanted them. With 2:18 left in overtime, Dylan Pumpian, who scored a game-high 17 points, converted on a layup to put Walton back up 37-35. After the Raiders’ defense came up with a stop, Marietta was forced to start fouling, and it allowed the shooters to put the game away from the foul line. Pumpian, Luka Avaliani and Carson Adler combined to make 8 of 10 free throws while Marietta made only 1 of 3, including missing a the front end of two 1-and-1s. Avaliani finished with 12 points.
“We rely on shooting,” Abney said. “We keep shooting stats in practice. It’s a competition, and we have some good shooters.”
From the start, everyone in the gym quickly realized this was going to be a low-scoring game. The only question seemed to be how low?
With 58 seconds left in the opening quarter, Marietta’s Isaac Jones made a 3-pointer to put the Blue Devils up 7-3. He would make another one at the buzzer to make it 10-5.
Three pointers by Avaliani and Luke Flynn helped Walton go on a 12-4 run in the second quarter to take a 17-14 lead at the half.
Marietta appeared as if it was going to start to pull away in the third quarter when Eric Howard scored eight of his 15 points during a 13-5 run for a 27-22 lead, but Landon Hong’s driving layup over the outstretched arms of Nelson helped spur a 13-4 run to close the quarter, and it got the crowd back in the game, something that would help in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“Our team isn’t a bunch of McDonalds All-Americans,” Abney said. “They grind, they come to work every day, they play defense, they buy into it.”
The victory brought Marietta’s six-game winning streak to an end, and because of a power-rating system, drops it to the region’s No. 3 seed behind North Paulding. The Blue Devils, who will open the playoffs at McEachern, had missed 42 days of basketball activity while quarantining three separate times because of COVID-19 issues, were trying to win its seventh game in 10 days, and pull off the most unlikely region championship in recent memory. While the result wasn’t what coach Markus Hood wanted, he said he knew the team did everything it could during the run.
“We’ve had three full practices since Dec. 19,” he said. “I’m really proud of these guys for hanging in there. They found a way to continue to grow and get better.”
The Walton Basketball Program will celebrate its eleven seniors on Tuesday, Dec. 1st. The Varsity Girls tip off at 6:00pm followed by the Varsity Boys at 7:30pm. The festivities will take place between the varsity games. Each senior will be escorted by their families and introduced in front of the Walton community. Be sure to check out the Senior tribute tables, which will be on display along the track at the top of the gym. We look forward to this special evening spent with our Raider families, coaches, and fans!
Congratulations to Walton’s Tomisin Adenupe who will continue her basketball career at Davidson College in North Carolina. Davidson is getting a great player and a star student! The Raider Tip-Off Club, players, coaches, alumni and fans are so proud of Tomisin. Everyone will be cheering her on now and on her next journey. Way to go!!!